Former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar and a United Democratic Alliance activist Mohammed Salim alias Thenge nearly exchanged blows at a Coast leaders meeting attended by William Ruto in Kilifi county recently. Ruto was in Coast a few days ago to champion his economic empowerment blueprint geared at revamping the ailing economy.
This is the DP’s new political strategy targeting regional blocs to win support for his 2022 presidential ambitions to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta whose two-year term comes to an end next year. Omar who was coordinating the DP’s retreat held at Sun-and-Sand Resort in Kilifi was angrily confronted by Thenge when he attempted to stop him from accessing the venue. A heated exchange ensued as Thenge accused Omar of attempting to personalise the DP, yet the other day he was fighting him including being part of the people responsible for Ruto’s woes at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, The Netherlands.
Thenge claimed the former senator is a political liability to Ruto as he is a divisive character who will neither win the Mombasa governor’s seat nor, deliver presidential votes to the hustler movement. Omar hit back at Thenge in style, saying: “Usiniletee ushoga wewe”. The ex-senator claimed Thenge was a gatecrasher at the meeting seeking for handouts as he was not a leader of any substance. When the situation threatened to degenerate to a physical fight, the security intervened to calm the situation. Thenge later went to one of the FM’s radio stations in Mombasa to mud-sling Omar, vowing to ensure he was rejected by Mombasa residents during the 2022 gubernatorial contest.
“How can a tenant seek to expel the landlord?” posed Thenge, adding that Omar was favouring Wiper proponents at the expense of genuine Ruto Coast supporters. It was not immediately clear if the incident caught the attention of Ruto who was a few metres away. Thenge has contested for Mvita parliamentary seat several times without success. The ex-senator is Ruto’s point-man in Mombasa politics alongside Nyali MP Mohammed Ali aka Jicho Pevu. The duo has been tasked to politically neutralise Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, a bitter critic of the DP.
The former Mombasa senator has, however, fallen out of favour with many Mombasa politicians in Ruto’s camp whom he seeks to sideline in favour of his own team.
Omar will be seeking the Mombasa governor’s seat against contestants like politician Suleiman Shahbal, Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo, Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir, ex-Nyali MP Hezron Awiti and Antony Chitavi. Coast MPs allied to Ruto were at one time pushing the formation of a regional party to lockout ODM from the region, and counter other faces not comfortable with the DP’s presidential 2022 pursuit. However, the power struggle among themselves, and with word that Ruto is being put on pressure to have a coastalian as his running mate, is seriously complicating the issue.
Those who surround Ruto argue, just like ODM which has controlled Coast politics for years accommodating Governor Hassan Joho as party deputy leader, UDA should do the same in coast region to avoid bitter fall out in case it accommodates an affiliate party. The call to have a regional party was started after the Msambweni by-election by Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani as one of the schemers. In the power strategy was the fire-chewing Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, Msambweni MP Feisal Bader and Tana River woman representative Rehema Hassan. The plan was to register and unveil a political vehicle that would carry the hopes and aspirations of the coastal inhabitants. The party, according to those initially involved in the political scheme was to form an alliance with UDA. Bader was late MP Suleiman Dori personal assistant and ODM move to sideline him courtesy of Joho cost the party in the by-election. Kilifi governor Amason Kingi factor has emerged in the regional party deal and at one time it was even speculated Ruto was courting him to be a key player in his camp together his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya. The win for Badar in Msambweni by-election was due to Mvurya influence and battle with Joho in who is the region kingpin. The DP diehards in the region are MPs Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi) and former Mombasa Senator Omar.
Omar, one of Ruto’s point-men in the region is accused of being overly arrogant, and proud, sidelining other Ruto allies. Many in the Ruto camp saying that Omar’s recent move to befriend Ruto was after losing in 2017 polls and just want to remain relevant. They further say Omar was at one time used by powerful individuals surrounding then president Mwai Kibaki while at Kenya Human Rights Commission to haul Ruto to ICC in Netherlands. Omar was among the lead investigators Louis Ocampo used to collect information and evidence against Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta. Ocampo was at one time accused of being a homosexual – shoga – to put it plainly.
Omar, together with Nyali MP Ali, are said to have staged a major coup in the region among Ruto supporters, sidelining those who were with him for years. We have information to the effect that Jomvu Kuu MCA, Athman Shebe, and her counterpart Faith Mwende of Kipevu ward, also said to be leaning towards Ruto of late, are being viewed suspiciously. Together with other MCAs, Charles Kitula (Frere Town), Abrary Mohammed (Kongowea) and Kombe Nzai of Kadzandani, they are all said to be busy chasing the DP’s money.
Omar camp also has MCAs Robert Nyiro of Bamburi, and Fahad Kassim of Mjambere ward. To complicate matters is the talk that the former senator is currently working on a list of UDA party Coast region’s officials. Omar is against a regional party and is eyeing a national seat in UDA to propel and help him bargain. The Omar factor has seen Ruto’s supporters go slow. Most MPs in Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, and Mombasa who were at one time with Ruto are now playing safe as they watch Ruto near dalliance with Omar.
Garsen MP, Ali Wario and Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, are now keeping Ruto guessing. In the senate during the voting to crucify then deputy speaker Kithure Kindiki, all Coast senators who were linked to Ruto voted for Kindiki’s removal raising political eyebrows. Coast senators are Jones Mwarume (ODM) Taita Taveta), Boy Juma Boy (ODM Kwale), Zani Agnes Philomena (ODM) nominated),Senator Gona Zawadi (Jubilee) nominated, Anur Loititip (Jubilee Lamu), Stewart Madzayo (ODM )Kilifi , Mwinyi Haji Mohamed (ODM) Mombasa ) and Wario Juma and (Jubilee) TanaRiver).